Prof Des Laubscher


Des is at present Vice President of the International Council of Design (ico-D). He has just been appointed as the international coordinator for design education. In this post he heads up two working groups, research and curriculum development.  

He is a Past President of the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers (IFI) and a parliamentarian of the federation. IFI represents the interests of designers worldwide in 60 countries. Des wrote the IFI Position Paper on Social Responsible Design. He also served on the Strategic Planning Committee of IFI and received a lifetime achievement award and a fellowship from the federation at their General Assembly in Kuala Lumpur in 2014. He has attended every General Assembly of IFI since 1991 till today.

He is a Fellow and was an Executive Board Member of Design for the World, based in Barcelona, Spain, which is a multi-disciplinary organisation concerned with humanitarian aspects of design.

In 2001 he was appointed as a Visiting Professor of Design at Nottingham Trent University because of his achievements in promoting socially responsible design on an international level. His appointment was vetted by interior architects in Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Korea and Ireland.

Des has presented papers related to design issues in many countries around the world, including Korea, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, China, the Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, England, Brazil, Chili, Mexico and the USA, to mention a few. He has also been a juror and chair for many design competitions internationally. Along with this he curated an exhibition entitled NEWAFRICA which saw South African designs from all disciples exhibited in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2007.

He was instrumental in founding the African Institute of the Interior Design Professions, IID. Under his leadership as President the institute set new standards in professionalism within the industry culminating in professional decorators, designers and interior architects receiving recognition of their titles from the South African Quality Authority (SAQA).

He is an advisor on design matters for the Department of Art and Culture in South Africa as well as being on an expert panel formulating a design policy for the government. Des is at present working with a team of designers, teachers, Umalusi and the Department of Education to introduce ‘design thinking’ to all programmes at secondary school level. Entrepreneurship is included in the concept of ‘design thinking’. He is one of the founding members of the IDEA Collective, Innovative Design Education Africa.  

He is at present CEO of Greenside Design Center, College of Design, South Africa, a world class design education institution he co-founded with Ingrid Leujes in 1987. 


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